Friday evening, the girls and I had movie night with Chad.
They watched UP, and we feasted on popcorn and juice boxes.
Chad was so tired, so we left as soon as the movie was over.
He had two falls on Friday (trying to get out of bed unassisted), but was okay.
On Saturday, we went to visit Chad pretty early in the day.
I had received a call that morning from a nurse to let me know Chad was becoming more and more unresponsive. He was hard to wake and easily confused. She was concerned that he was “turning a corner.” As much as I’ve thought about hearing someone say those words, they still stung me when they fell from her mouth.
He is having problems swallowing, but it’s sporadic. He ate a small cup of diced peaches for me and went back to sleep.
He did manage to get out a few words here & there, but most of them weren’t really intelligible.
I finally remembered to bring his clippers, so he got a beard trim. We thought of trimming his hair up too, but he was having a hard time holding his head up, so I decided against it. It was so nice to see my handsome husband again, under the heft of a unkempt, woolly beard.
He didn’t feel like going outside. And the girls, although they were on their best behavior, were aggravating him.
When they make noise, totally unintentional-everyday-“kid” noises, I can sense Chad becoming agitated. We stayed about an hour, and he was trying to sleep most of that time. The nurse later told me that Chad slept most of the day – about 20 hours, if not more.
The girls & I spent Saturday at the lake with a small group of family members. We planned to stay the night Saturday, but ended up staying Sunday night, too. They were having so much fun and they deserve it — they are absolutely exhausted, but I am so glad that they had a good time.
On Sunday, I left the girls with my aunts because they (the girls) didn’t really want to go with me to see Chad.
His parents had just left the hospice home when I was pulling in – and they told me that they had a pretty good visit with Chad. He was awake while they were there, but was growing sleepy towards the end.
I found him to be quite tired as well, but I did convince him to eat a little. He ate about five small bites of spaghetti and drank a few swallows of ginger ale and water. I noticed he was coughing quite a bit after drinking, and I had to remind him to swallow — or he would just hold it in his mouth.
He has been running a low grade fever for a few days, and he was definitely feeling pretty puny from that.
We didn’t go outside – and I don’t think he’ll be back in the wheelchair again.
The nurses, several of which who weren’t even in charge of Chad on Sunday, dropped in to say hello. And to let me know they thought he looked much weaker and less “enthusiastic”. I think that’s a nice way of them saying they were missing him trying to escape over the bed rail every 15 minutes and giving them a workout…
The girls and I visited today, around 3pm.
I was a little shocked when I walked in the room.
I briefly mentioned it to the nurse — Chad could not hold his head up. They had to lean the headboard back a bit and prop him up with pillows. He was, basically, unresponsive. He didn’t try to talk, at all. There were random noises that sounds like grunts and groans, but no effort to communicate.
Hie left hand is so much weaker than it was yesterday. He had been able to communicate with me by squeezing my hand on cue – but not really today. At first, I thought he just couldn’t understand what I wanted him to do. My hand was resting in his, but there was no pressure – there was no squeeze.
I tried to move my hand after a few minutes and could just barely feel a bit of tension in his fingers. It was the best squeeze he could muster. And I was so thankful for it, even though it wasn’t his normal bone-cracking grip.
With today’s visit, I have made the decision that Carys & Cailyn will not be visiting anymore.
I spoke with the nurse briefly, and tried to figure out if this was a bad day, or if he could perk up a little tomorrow.
And while he may have a “good” hour or so during the day, it won’t be all at once. It will brief moments here & there when he is lucid and will try to communicate.
Most of the time, he will lay there, much like today. Eyes slightly open, mouth ajar. Labored breathing sounds.
I do not want our sweet, innocent little girls to forever have an image of their father like that in their minds.
I pulled them aside, individually and told them that daddy was getting sicker and they wouldn’t be able to visit anymore.
I wanted to give them the opportunity to talk to Chad freely, hug, kiss and tell him how much they loved him. I wanted to make sure they had that chance.
Carys, of course, knew what all of this meant. And she was hysterical.
Cailyn was upset too, but didn’t fall apart the way Carys did. Poor girl.
I had the staff turn off Chad’s bed alarm and I set the girls on the bed with him, individually.
Carys plopped her thick tangle of hair right on Chad’s chest and gave him a hug. Her tears were falling down Chad’s shirt.
I picked up his arm and placed it around Carys’ shoulders, hoping he would respond by giving her a gentle squeeze. She was waiting for it too, and when Chad didn’t hug her, she was so upset.
I gently applied pressure to Chad’s forearm, so it would feel like he was hugging her. She just beamed.
She gave him a few kisses and told him how much she loved him, fighting back tears the whole time. She is my brave, strong girl.
Since he didn’t talk. we devised the “waving I Love You” tactic a few days ago. He couldn’t do that either, as his left hand is weakening. I opened his fingers, knowing that he would close them again in reflex. Carys didn’t know that though, so she got her wave. She waved back, gave another kiss and hopped off the bed.
Cailyn hopped up, took her turn.
I performed the same duties of helping Chad “hug” her and uncurling his hand to wave.
She was stoic, not shedding a tear.
I took them both to the couch and we all had a good cry, hugging and and holding each other.
I had a moment with Chad and told him I’d be back tomorrow and would be there with him on a permanent basis very soon.
He didn’t grip my hand tightly, but he did apply a bit of pressure to let me know he understood.
What a hard, sad day.
The girls are okay now, but I anticipate a field of questions coming soon.
My mother will take over my role of making lunches, carpooling, and doling out hugs and kisses when I decide to stay with Chad on a permanent basis. I want to be there with him as much as I can, and I plan to discuss a timeline with the nursing staff tomorrow when I visit while the girls are both at school.
If you had planned to see Chad, I still encourage you to do so. I would do it this week, if you’re able to.
And if you’ve changed your mind and don’t want to see him this way, I understand. He would understand.
Thank you, as always, for your support and concern.
We will be okay.
We will be okay.
We will be okay.